Thursday, August 23rd was a landmark for Ada Developers Academy. Ada Developers Academy alumni made a commitment to fundraise and subsidize on-going applications process costs estimated at an annual cost of $30,000 over the next three years.
Ada recently introduced a new application fee beginning with Cohort 11 in August, 2018.
The Ada community launched an immediate and public response to this introduction as there was deep concern that this fee would create a barrier for the groups Ada aims to serve: people of color and under-represented minorities.
To establish a path forward, Executive Director Nicole Buchanan and staff hosted two town halls Thursday, August 23rd to ensure maximum attendance and engagement.
Ms. Buchanan began the meeting with an apology for the communications oversight and rollout of the fee without engaging the alumni. She expressed a desire to better inform the community about major decisions prior to making them public. “It was unfortunate, and I apologize. We are taking immediate steps to correct the situation,” she said. “With the current funding challenges, we sought to minimize the impacts to the applications process through an application fee. Now, thanks to today’s frank discussions, we have reached a mutual understanding, and the application fee has been removed. Instead, we have a financial commitment from many of the Alumni to offset this cost and more importantly have begun an ongoing dialogue with our Alumni community.”
The Adie community expressed concerns about the barriers a fee might represent to under-represented minorities and people of color. They followed up with questions to better understand the structure of funding at Ada in the evening town hall. Ms. Buchanan proposed an alternative option which would allow for alumni participation to financially subsidize the application process costs.
This proposal was met favorably, and many community members committed to taking on the challenge of the funding gap further by enlisting their individual networks to contribute. There were several additional suggestions, which will be shared in the meeting notes and FAQs to be provided early next week, along with dates for future town hall gatherings.
In summary, Nicole Buchanan said, “It’s all about trust. Now that we have started the process of connection, I absolutely trust in the word of those who participated today. The community stepped up and agreed to open up opportunities for the next round of applicants. I regret what brought us here, but now that we’re finally here, the staff and I are excited to move forward. I’m so proud of the spirit of this community. From all of us, we thank you.”
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